A Novel of the Cathars
In the land of troubadours and the Holy Grail, a war of faiths explodes. . .
As the 13th century dawns, an ancient scroll hidden in the French Pyrenees is rumored to hold shocking revelations about Jesus of Nazareth. To preserve this lost evidence of His teachings, a charismatic holy woman must defy Rome.
Christianity is about to enter its darkest hour and emerge forever changed.
Set during the religious persecution of the Albigensian Crusade, this is a fictionalized interpretation of Esclarmonde de Foix, a revered viscountess who championed a heretical sect of pacifist mystics called Cathars, or Pure Ones. Today, she is remembered as the Cathar Joan of Arc.
Esclarmonde angers Pope Innocent III by challenging the Church’s corruption in Occitania. Her fame grows during public theological disputations, and Rome retaliates with a brutal forty-year war that culminates in the nine-month siege of Montsegur, the Cathar Masada.
Here is a rich tapestry of star-crossed love, monastic corruption, Templar intrigue, troubadour espionage, mysteries of the Holy Grail and the Tarot, and epic sieges that shaped France and paved the path to the Reformation.
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Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Finalist/Honorable Mention
Nautilus Silver Award Winner
IPPY Silver Award Winner
NIEA Award Winner for Best New Fiction
Eric Hoffer Finalist/Honorable Mention Winner
Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist
“[W]ELL-RESEARCHED, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR A NOVEL, IT TELLS A THOROUGHLY ENGROSSING STORY.”
— The Historical Novel Society
“WHAT IS A MASTERFULLY ORCHESTRATED NOVEL? ONE LIKE THIS THAT TELLS A SPELLBINDING TALE…A MARVEL OF A TALE, TIED QUITE FIRMLY INTO WHAT FACTS THERE ARE, AND WOVEN DEFTLY INTO A TAPESTRY… AT ONCE ENJOYABLE AND ALARMING.”
— Thoughts and Places Reviews
“THERE IS ACTION. MYSTERIES ABOUND…TENETS OF THE CATHAR FAITH ARE EXPLAINED AND MANY OF ESCLARMONDE’S MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES BEAUTIFULLY RENDERED.”
“I LOVED THIS BOOK! MR. CRANEY HAS WOVEN A WONDERFUL STORY AROUND THE LITTLE KNOWN FACTS AND THE MANY MYTHS THAT SURROUND ST ESCLARMONDE DE FOIX AND THE CATHARS AT MONTSEGUR. GET THEE TO A BOOKSELLER!”
— Rev. Mother Anastasia, Abbess of the Order of St. Esclarmonde